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Frito-Lay to Begin Labeling Gluten-Free Products

In a much-needed move toward reliable labeling of gluten-free products, Frito-Lay has commenced an effort to test, verify, and eventually label its already gluten-free products. As one of the largest food manufacturers in the world, Frito-Lay (and PepsiCo, its parent corporation) is well-positioned to make a significant difference in the lives of Americans with gluten sensitivities (the initiative is exclusive to products in the U.S.).

Photo: CC--janetmckCeliac disease sufferers should be wary of putting too much trust in this labeling effort though. As evidenced by the recent controversy surrounding Domino's “gluten-free” pizza crust, gluten-free is not standardized terminology (though the NASSCD is trying to remedy this) and gluten-free is becoming a popular, i.e. profitable market.

Unlike Domino's offering though, it would seem that Frito-Lay is doing a thorough job of substantiating their gluten-free claim. They are working with the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program to test both ingredients and finished products for the presence of gluten. Any products containing less than 20ppm of gluten off the manufacturing line (in accordance with the FDA's Proposed Rule for Gluten Free Labeling) will soon be labeled as gluten-free.

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It still remains to be seen how their labeling scheme will be rolled out, but looking at their website's guide to gluten-free products, they currently separate their products into two varieties of products for gluten-conscious customers. They are describing their verified and tested (less than 20ppm) products as gluten-free, and their untested, 'kind of' gluten-free (potentially manufactured on gluten-contaminated lines) products as “Products Not Containing Gluten Ingredients”. The website makes it pretty clear what the two designations mean if you read the accompanying text, but there is room for concern if they attempt a labeling scheme that obscures the reality of the products. One would hope they will only label the tested and verified products, and leave the untested ones as they are, to be found by gluten-conscious (but not deathly allergic) customers who have done their research.

Frito-Lay seems benevolent enough, with at least some concern and regard for the celiac population, so hopefully the labeling scheme will reflect this. In addition to their labeling effort, they have partnered with the Celiac Disease Foundation and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness to commence a celiac disease awareness initiative. It will utilize Frito-Lay's partnerships and social media channels to provide educational content in English and Spanish, hopefully reaching the undiagnosed and unaware portion of the estimated 21 million gluten-sensitive Americans.


As always, welcomes your comments (see below).

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6 Responses:


said this on
19 May 2012 3:24:11 PM PST
I won't be eating the snacks anyway. Their products seem to be cross-contaminated with corn, or sulfites, or whatever. I react to the products that are supposed to be corn and preservative free. So, I'm not going to put any blind faith in their gluten-free labels.

janet lee

said this on
21 May 2012 2:41:01 PM PST
How can you even suggest people with a disease that affects their bowels eat this garbage? Frito Lay is being sued for incorrect claims already. I have no doubt that people get this disease in the first place from eating too many processed foods - or because their parents ate processed foods. To keep encouraging this madness is something we can't afford!! What about an apple?

said this on
21 May 2012 2:57:57 PM PST
This article is intended to inform those who already do or wish to consume Frito-Lay products. We are making no suggestions.


said this on
22 May 2012 8:55:59 PM PST
Thanks for this.


said this on
24 May 2012 7:33:04 AM PST
Good article.
Gluten-free has become sort of a fad diet for the misinformed, and companies are capitalizing on those same wishful and uninformed people. While it's great that companies like Frito-Lay are bending over backwards to make their junk food more accessible to a minority of their customers, the easiest and best way to live gluten-free is to eat more whole and healthy foods instead of replacing wheat junk with non-wheat junk.


said this on
04 Oct 2012 9:55:41 AM PST
I am thrilled whenever a large, mainstream company begins taking gluten free seriously - and I really do not care if their motive is for profit or their food is "junk" - the more mainstream gluten-free goes, the better. Then it is my choice (and I will have more of them) whether I eat it or not, but at least I have the choice because they dared to go gluten-free. I just wish below 20ppm wasn't the standard for gluten-free - I wish it was 0ppm, but hey, it's a start.

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You're most welcome. Let us know how things go along okay? Also, you might want to start getting prepped for going gluten free. Start learning now so it isn't so overwhelming later. Here's a link to the Newbie 101:

Thank you for your response, GFinDC. I agree that buying from a local producer is a safe bet.

This is still not the place for your politcal feelings. this is not relevaent to the topic.

That's because they were using DDT before round up which also contained glyphosate, which has been proven to cause Celiac's and many other diseases